21 October 2013

The Hobbit - An Unexpected Journey



Date of Issue : 1 November 2013

New Zealand Post issued a set of six stamps and 6 Miniature sheets featuring characters from the film “ Hobbit”.

‘The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug’ continues the adventure of the title character Bilbo Baggins as he journeys with the Wizard Gandalf and thirteen Dwarves, led by Thorin Oakenshield, on an epic quest to reclaim the lost Dwarf Kingdom of Erebor. Having survived the beginning of their unexpected journey, the Company continues East, encountering along the way the skin-changer Beorn and a swarm of giant Spiders in the treacherous Mirkwood Forest.


After escaping capture by the dangerous Woodland Elves, the Dwarves journey to Lake-town, and finally to the Lonely Mountain itself, where they must face the greatest danger of all – a creature more terrifying than any before, which will test not only the depth of their courage but the limits of their friendship and the wisdom of the journey itself – the Dragon Smaug.


This official range of stamps from New Zealand Post features well known characters from the first film, as well as some popular new additions. As well as capturing key scenes from the film, the stamps reflect New Zealand as the home of Middle-earth, and promise to be highly sought-after collectables.

: New Zealand Post

Press Clippings


Postcards from Paradise on Earth

By N Kalyani Published: 20th October 2013 12:00 AM Indian Express

Kashmir has a new brand ambassador. Its well-connected and recently modernised postal service, which besides delivering letters and parcels, has also been marketing the state as a land of unparalleled beauty. 


John Samuel outside the floating post office on the Dal Lake

At Delhi’s Dak Bhawan, John Samuel, 57, who recently returned after a two-and-a-half-years stint as Jammu and Kashmir’s chief postmaster general, explains the good the postal department has done for tourism in the picturesque state.

“A post office is more than just stamps and letters,” quips Samuel, who is from Tamil Nadu. “No place in the world matches the beauty of Gulmarg and Pahalgam,” he tells you in a matter-of-fact tone. And the tourist post offices in these predominantly touristy hot spots make good use of nature’s bounty.

“These tourist post offices sell not just postage and postal stationery, including special postal covers and picture postcards, but also Kashmiri saffron, walnuts, apples, handicrafts and coffee table books on Kashmir that can also be parceled to friends and family,” he says. “They also provide information to the tourists,” he adds.

Marketing the local produce and products at post offices helps develop the local economy, Samuel explains. A popular tourist icon in the state is its floating post office on the beautiful Dal Lake, which also has a postal museum.

The process of modernising post offices has been undertaken across the state, says Samuel, and as of now more than 40 of the state’s 1600-plus post offices have been upgraded. “Each modernized post office has the Post Shop facility,” says Samuel. What is the Post Shop? “A one-stop post office facility offering stamps, special covers, first day covers, packaging boxes for parcels, as also services of photocopy and fax. Besides, the ‘My Stamp’ facility is available here as well,” he says.

My Stamp is the personalised stamp facility that was introduced by India Post during Indipex-2011, the World Philatelic Exhibition held in Delhi, under which one can have one’s own picture inserted on part of the stamp and the entire stamp with the regular stamp and denomination can then be used as regular postage.

Samuel has also conducted philatelic exhibitions for the public and in schools with a view to promoting philately among children, an educative and fun hobby that can last a lifetime. October 9 is World Post Day and India observes October 9 to 15 as the Postal Week every year.

The very first state-level philatelic exhibition that was held in September 2011 was after a long hiatus of 32 years, Samuel says. Special postal covers in the last couple of years on themes such as ‘International Day of the Girl Child’ and ‘No Smoking Day’ have served to communicate social messages of import. “The post office can act as a catalyst to bring change in society,” Samuel points out. Sports events such as an athletics meet and a football tournament have also been hosted by the J&K postal circle. These activities are not post office-centric, rather they involve the entire community.

Its stockpile of positive initiatives includes gender parity as well. “An all-women post office has also been opened at Jammu Market,” beams Samuel. The post office was also involved in the ‘Clean Srinagar, Green Srinagar’ initiative working with the municipal corporation.

Samuel’s most memorable special cover has been the one that was released in 2011 at Siachen Glacier, at a height of 20,000 feet. It could perhaps be included in the Guinness World Records, he says, as no special cover has ever been released at such a height. The special postal cover was released jointly by Samuel and Lieutenant General K T Parnaik, the then chief of the Northern Command (now retired). “It was both to encourage our army jawans posted there and to publicise the place,” says Samuel. Clearly, postal activity in this region is set to scale greater heights.

: The Indian Express

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